Cognitive analytic therapy is a time-limited psychotherapy (normally 16 to 24 sessions) which integrates theories derived from cognitive psychology, psychoanalytic psychotherapy (mainly object relations), and ideas derived from Vygotsky and Bakhtin(dialogic).
It is an integrative model that helps us to understand the links between the relational patterns from the past and present, and how this affects our everyday life.
Understanding the development of personality, and that aspects of personality are socially constructed, is central to CAT. The tools of therapy, including the reformulation letter, psychotherapy file, procedural diagrams and the dialogic sequence analysis, are particularly helpful in conceptualising and managing complex presentations within a relational framework.
CAT is a relational model that was developed within the NHS in the UK to meet the rising pressures and demands of the services and patients. It involves developing an active collaborative therapeutic relationship with the patient and is particularly applicable to work in NHS and mental health settings.
CAT is now used in many countries across the world to treat with patients with complex presentations both in the inpatients(acute) and outpatients’ settings including community mental health teams and third sector organisations. CAT is transdiagnostic and can also be used in contextual, team formulations, consultations and group work.